Eight

Sue Goyette

copyright ©Text copyright Sue Goyette, 2013

The trick to building houses was making sure
they didn’t taste good. The ocean’s culinary taste

was growing more sophisticated and occasionally
its appetite was unwieldy. It ate boats and children,

the occasional shoe. Pants. A diamond ring.
Hammers. It ate promises and rants. It snatched up

names like peanuts. We had a squadron of cooks
specifically catering to its needs. They stirred vats

of sandals and sunglasses. They peppered their soups
with pebbles and house keys. Quarts of bottled song

were used to sweeten the brew. Discussions between
preschool children and the poets were added

for nutritional value. These cooks took turns pulling
the cart to the mouth of the harbour. It would take four

of them to shoulder the vat over, tipping the peeled
promises, the baked dreams into its mouth.

And then the ocean would be calm. It would sleep. Our mistake
was thinking we were making it happy.

Notes on the Poem

We've discovered something irresistible and delicious about Sue Goyette's poem "Eight" from her 2014 Griffin Poetry Prize shortlisted collection "Ocean". We aren't imagining it either, because others have detected the same thing. Do you notice it, too? One read through "Eight" and don't you just feel like sharing it, by reading it aloud? Well, high school poetry recitation contest Poetry In Voice / Les voix de la poésie clearly thought so too, as the poem is included in their online compendium of "out loud"-friendly poetry selections for students to assay in competition. What makes this poem so sonically delectable? Bite size words and phrases help ... "It ate boats and children, the occasional shoe. Pants. A diamond ring. Hammers." succinct, but rich with imagery, whimsy and meaning. Spiced up with a some longer words and sentences, the poem offers a rollicking and enchanting overall rhythm. Try it. Come on, don't be shy. Sink your teeth into this one and we're sure you (and your audience!) will quickly unearth the poem's humour, suspense and more as you enjoy bringing it to life.

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